I do not like to talk a lot about my guru. Well, I love him, and that is my business, not yours. You must find your own guru and have the same feelings for him. On the morning of 19 March 1956, he called me to his kutir and gave me a mission. I had to go into the wide world. At the time he said to me, "In 1923 you were born; in 1943 you came to me; in 1963 you will start working yourself; in 1983 your institutional work will come to a close, and after that you will be on the cosmic level." I am working according to his instructions.
Often, since Swami Sivananda's mahasamadhi, I have felt his presence clearly. I have distinctly heard his voice; but even today I do not know how to contact him. Even if I want to, I cannot. When the experience comes, it is clear, pleasant, calm and quiet. It comes to me when I want to kick everything I have created, whenever I want to close something. I do not like ashrams. Basically, I have always believed a swami should live a different kind of life, but I am not able to do it. I must go on, whether I like it or not.
The last time I felt his presence was in November 1982 when I was on the seashore in Puerto Rico and feeling slightly dull and depressed due to the weather. He said to me, "You are now free from your ashram life," and thereby released me. About ten swamis from America, Colombia and Europe were with me at the time, including Swami Niranjan. I called him over and said, "Now my plan is clear. I am not going to work any more with the administrative side of Bihar School of Yoga or any institution. You cancel your trips in America and return to Munger as soon as possible."
I chose him when he came to me at the age of four and trained him without telling him that he would succeed me. He will look after the whole mission as far as he can. Whether he manages it well or not is up to him; it is not my business now. I belong to yoga, not to Bihar School of Yoga. An institution is a means, not an end in itself.
In the beginning the movement is the means and the philosophy the end, but later the institution becomes the end and the philosophy the means. That happens with all religions and institutions. We live just to make the organization or institution survive and I don't think I will be doing that in my retirement. I am retiring from the institution that I created and worked for sincerely.
This means that I will have nothing to do with that institution as an institution; not that I am against it or that there have been any difficulties, but now I will not confine myself to any institutions and religions. A sannyasin should be beyond institutions and religions. For him, spiritual institutions are a part of his soul and every religion is equally precious, important and meaningful.
During the coming twenty years, I will work for the good of humankind and my sadhana. Personally, I consider even yoga to be a means rather than an end. I have been thinking for many years that when people attain success, eminence and power, they forget the purpose. Instead of working for humankind, they work for themselves. We must work for yoga only as far as we can convince people that it can help them. We have to propagate a particular philosophy or science only to the extent that people can be benefited by it, but if we forget that the good of humankind in general is the goal, and not the teaching itself, we have made a great mistake.
If you think about it deeply and properly, you will realize that institutions become stagnant. They become powerful with big administrators and officers amending the constitution, adding page after page, preparing dogmas for the survival of the institution, and having links with political parties. This usually ends in complete chaos and can happen to anyone. So, I thought that I would become free and talk to people about yoga. I realize that yoga has much more to give humankind than it has already given. Teaching yoga is necessary, but it has been taught by and through various institutions, and has become limited and unacceptable to many.
Spiritual seekers should have the same aspirations and ideals that I am expressing now. They should be free from any representational movement, organization, clan, class or sect, and go on moving from place to place, so it cannot be said that they are working for an institution, for name, fame, money or anything. From November 1983 onwards, I will move out of the ashram and spend the next twenty years as a mendicant, let us say a ‘royal' mendicant.
I will spend some time going from place to place, visiting the tirthas, sacred places. I am not fond of crowds and do not need a feast for my eyes. I have realized that it is only a few people who become the backbone of a real civilization. Where you gather the masses into tens of thousands, everything fails in the course of time. History has proved it. How I spend the next twenty years of my life, the future will tell.
February 1983 —Excerpts of satsangs delivered in Manchester and London